Last year we saw the impressive debut of the ASICS Kayano Lite. A lighter and more eco-friendly version of the cornerstone of ASICS’ stability line. It was the first stability trainer to get the lite treatment. The 2nd edition comes out with a few small tweaks to both the upper and midsole.
GT-1000, GT-2000 and the Kayano are the 3 stability offerings from ASICS. The Kayano is the top tier offering while the GT 1000 and 2000 are the mid and moderate stability offerings. The Kayano Lite is priced at $160, which is slightly higher than other top tier options.
Asics Kayano Lite 2 First Impressions
The stylish look continues with the Kayano Lite 2. Instead of a light grey upper, they went with a charcoal upper with a midsole with red and black pops of color. It continues to be the most stylish shoe I have reviewed from ASICS. The red outsole and small lines of red in the ASICS logo were a nice touch.
I knew from my experience with the 1st edition of the Kayano Lite I was expecting balanced cushioning. This expectation was met but with a lighter weight. An immediate bounce was felt, along with a tailored fit hugging the contours of my feet. The wide base is back to provide a stable ride.
The maiden voyage of the Kayano Lite 2s was an 8-mile hilly route. I didn’t experience the bulkiness I felt initially with the previous model. They provided a secure and bouncy ride from the first step on.
Asics Kayano Lite 2 Sole Unit
Let’s start from the ground up. AHAR (ASICS High Abrasion Rubber) Lite makes another appearance in the Kayano Lite 2. It is just as durable as AHAR while being lighter. The durability means more miles and a longer lifespan. They showed minimal wear after a hundred plus miles.
The absence of some of ASICS’ stability technology reduces the weight. The Kayano Lite 2 is built without the trusstic system. Midfoot cutouts and a guidance line work to provide what a trusstic system would normally provide. It improves heel to toe transition and gait efficiency.
Eco content Flytefoam makes up the midsole cushioning. This is the same as the first edition of the Lites. It is more sustainable and environmentally friendly than your average running shoe. This cushioning provides a responsive ride with the right amount of bounce to it. It excelled on shock absorption and energy return.
The midsole materials help create a lighter shoe with the Kayano Lite weighing almost an oz lighter than the Kayano 28. They are also lighter than the Lite 1 by half an ounce.
3-D space construction is used again in the construction of the midsole. This is when they take small specific shapes of foam and press them together to form a midsole. This construction is gender specific meeting the needs of both. The concave shape to the lateral side and convex shape to the medial side aid in the stability. These two aspects along with the 3 D space construction create a highly stable ride.
The Kayano Lite 2 offers a wider base than the Kayano 28. Wider basenets run from heel to the toe of the midsole. More landing area along with take off area means more stability during your stride.
Asics Kayano Lite 2 Upper Unit
ASICS set out to build a shoe with less environmental impact when they created the Kayano Lite. With the 2nd edition they were able to lessen the impact even more. An area where that is evident is in the upper of the shoe.
The upper is made of recycled engineered mesh. This material along with the rest of the upper is made from more than 60% recycled materials. It is built using 3-D printed overlays meaning there are no points of irritation. The single layer of mesh is breathable. It also kept my feet warm since they were reviewed in late fall.
The 3-D printed upper is structured to the point of being slightly constricting. There isn’t much give to the engineered mesh, which means your feet feel a slight tightness in the toe box. This didn’t affect me as much as it may affect other runners. On the flip side it helps lock your foot in place allowing you to push the pace when you want.
The Kayano Lite uses a heel clutching system unlike the Kayano, which utilized an exoskeleton heel counter. It is a solid internal heel counter covered by a generous amount of cushioning. The amount of cushioning takes a few miles to get used to it. It is as effective as the exoskeleton heel counter. It locks your heel in place in turn adding to the stability of the trainer.
The Kayano Lite fit is slightly bigger than other ASICS trainers. The toe box is wider allowing your toes to splay out naturally. This leads to a boost to your toe offs. Reflective materials are used throughout the upper. This aided in the visibility of these especially when running in the predawn hours.
Asics Kayano Lite 2 Conclusion
Over the last few years, ASICS has stepped outside their comfort zone to develop some new trainers and have taken their classic and added a twist. As a result, they have converted new runners while also pleasing longtime runners to their shoes.
As a runner who has tried all of ASICS stability offerings I must say the Kayano Lite has become my favorite.
The Kayano Lite has a different ride than the Kayano 28. It has more of a bounce to it. The Eco Content Flytefoam, partially made from recycled materials, is lighter and springy. That combined with the absence of the trusstic system brings the weight an ounce and half under the Kayano 28 weight.
Having a wider base along with different density foam in the needed places makes the Kayano Lite a stable ride with impressive energy return. It was refreshing to run in a trainer without a medial post. Last year I said the midsole can feel bulky at times.
With this edition, I didn’t experience that feeling because it has a slightly slimmer fit from heel to toe.
The new engineered mesh upper of the Kayano Lite is structured with miles in mind. It is breathable, comfortable, and stylish. One drawback to the upper is the mesh is slightly constricting because of the lack of flexibility. The heel clutching system continues to be a strength of the upper. It locked my heel in place resulting in more stability.
Last year I said “If the Kayano 27 is like the wise mellow older brother, the Kayano Lite is the hyper and bouncy younger brother. I think they would form a perfect tandem of shoes for your daily training.” I believe this to still be true. I prefer the Kayano Lite over the Kayano because they are lighter and provide a smoother ride.
I have no doubt these could take you through training for your next race and then run in them on race day. I have taken both editions on multiple half marathons. They are a consistent stable ride every time you lace them up.
While ASICS made a giant leap in terms of evolving and innovating with the release of the Kayano Lite last year, this year was more baby steps in terms of improving an already impressive trainer. For the most part, they succeeded. The Kayano Lite continues to be my favorite ASICS trainer.
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We purchased this pair of Asics Kayano Lite 2 at Running Warehouse with our own money.
Asics Kayano Lite 2 Price Comparison
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